Tips for protecting your financial privacy while using a smartphone

Problem Solvers
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DENVER — Shopping for a plane ticket?  Buying clothing online? If you’re using an app on your smartphone, you could be putting your personal information at risk. Apple announced Thursday it will start going after developers who secretly record how people use certain apps.

The tracking technology is supposedly used to improve how well the apps work, but experts tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers there are security concerns.

Apple says the practice violates their privacy terms.  A TechCrunch investigation revealed many companies use the customer analytic firm Glassbox to improve their services. The firm uses something called “session replay” to recapture every click and swipe you make without notifying you first. Glassbox posted a tweet last fall saying,  “imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it? This is no longer a hypothetical question, but a real possibility. This is Glassbox. Experience it for yourself.”

The Problem Solvers asked cyber security expert Mitch Tannenbaum of Cyber Cecurity about the risks of exposing personal information when using this type of technology.

“Anybody in that company could see it, and if they’re selling that data and they’re not filtering the data which is the password data, then the company they’re selling it to could see it,” said Tannenbaum.

So, how do you protect yourself? Tannenbaum says uninstall apps you don’t need and never use debit cards to make purchases or buy plane tickets online.

Additionally, he advised using a bank’s bill pay service.

“They’re going to use their account number, their banking number, their routing number, so your information is not exposed,” Tannenbaum said.

Security experts also recommend using secure ID features on your phone and computer along with strong passwords and two-step identification.

Expedia Travel has used Glassbox. The Problem Solvers asked company officials about the issue. An Expedia Group spokesperson provided us with this statement:

“We can confirm that Expedia Group brands are not actively using Glassbox services on any of our native applications for iOS or Android. On select Expedia Group brands native applications for Android, Glassbox exists from a prior proof of concept in the codebase but it has been disabled for some time and has not been actively capturing information.”

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